Out-of-form Indian opener Virender Sehwag was rested on “fitness grounds” while Sachin Tendulkar was included in the 15-man India squad named Wednesday for the Asia Cup ODI cricket tournament. Virat Kohli was named Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s deputy in the side a day after he played the innings of his life against Sri Lanka in the CB tri-series.
Chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth, after the selection committee meeting here, said Sehwag was overlooked completely on fitness grounds rather than for his erratic form in the ongoing ODI tri-series in Australia.
Fast bowler Zaheer Khan was also given time to recuperate from a gruelling Australian tour while Bengal pacer Ashok Dinda and big-hitter Yusuf Pathan made a comeback to the side for the four-nation tournament beginning March 11 in Bangladesh. The other teams are Sri Lanka, Pakistan and hosts Bangladesh.
Kohli’s elevation to vice-captaincy implied that the selectors see him as a potential captain for the 2015 World Cup. The stylish batsman smashed an unbeaten 133 off 86 balls against Sri Lanka in Hobart Tuesday to keep India alive in the three-nation tournament.
“Hats off to Kohli for a wonderful innings. We have to start looking forward towards the future. He is an excellent future captain. After thorough consultation, we made Kohli the vice-captain,” said Srikkanth.
The team comprises seven specialist batsmen in Dhoni, Tendulkar, Kohli, Gautam Gambhir, Manoj Tiwary, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina while the genuine all-rounders are Ravindra Jadeja and Irfan Pathan, who has impressed with both bat and ball in the ongoing tri-series in Australia.
The bowling attack looks an inexperienced lot in the absence of Zaheer. Praveen Kumar will be the pace spearhead alongside Vinay Kumar, Irfan and Dinda, who last played an ODI in the West Indies in June. Ravichandran Ashwin will lead the spinners’ pack with leg-spinner Rahul Sharma being the other specialist tweaker.
Left-arm orthodox spinner Pragyan Ojha was ignored for the slow pitches of Bangladesh.
Yusuf Pathan made the cut after his whirlwind 114 off 78 balls for Baroda against Saurashtra in a Vijay Hazare Trophy match Sunday.
The squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain/wicketkeeper), Virat Kohli (vice captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Rahul Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Manoj Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, Ashok Dinda.